Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks has his work cut out for him with regards to leading his national team. Hossa, at 35 years of age, has played excellent hockey for his NHL team, and leads the league in takeaways.
Hossa has also been rested by Blackhawks’ head coach Joel Quenneville more than normal recently, as the team looks to make another playoff push. Hossa will be rested as he and Boston Bruins‘ defenseman Zdeno Chara look to carry a Slovakian National Team missing its leading scorer from the 2010 games (The late Pavol Demitra) and having a questionable goaltender in the form of Jaroslav Halak.
That being said, there is still potential that Hossa could snap during pool play and lift Slovakia in an upset victory over The United States or Russia early. Hossa told The Chicago Tribune “There are expectations, but the team is going to be way different.” He also said, “There will be more young players without as much experience. People realize back home what our chances are. We can definitely surprise some big dogs, but we know where we’re at with our team.”
It is that inexperience which will likely prevent Slovakia from advancing out of pool play, regardless of Hossa’s efforts. However, what ultimately shortens Hossa’s Olympic trip will likely benefit his NHL team.
No professional athletes enjoy representing their country more than hockey players. Given the opportunity to lead his team has to be endearing for the veteran Hossa, who will also get the opportunity to play with his brother Marcel. That combination of morale boosting coupled with a competitive but less aggressive (thanks to wider ice and Olympic checking) environment will likely benefit Hossa, and therefore the Chicago Blackhawks.
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